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Fw: BMCR 2005.07.13, Allen, Marsilio Ficino. Vol. 4

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  • Edward Moore
    ... From: To: ; Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:44 PM Subject: BMCR 2005.07.13,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2005
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      From: <owner-bmcr-l@...>
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      Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:44 PM
      Subject: BMCR 2005.07.13, Allen, Marsilio Ficino. Vol. 4

      > Michael J.B. Allen, James Hankins, Marsilio Ficino. Platonic Theology.
      > Volume 4: Books XII-XIV. I Tatti Renaissance Library, 13. Cambridge,
      > MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Pp. 371. ISBN 0-674-01482-0.
      > $29.95.
      > Reviewed by Maude Vanhaelen, Universite/ Libre de Bruxelles
      > (maude.vanhaelen@...)
      > Word count: 1035 words
      > -------------------------------
      > This is the fourth volume of the I Tatti Renaissance Library project of
      > reediting Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology, thus superseding Raymond
      > Marcel's pioneering edition and French translation published in
      > 1964-1970. In addition, this new edition provides for the first time an
      > English translation facing the Latin text, making Ficino's Platonic
      > Theology available to a wide readership. It also includes, at the end
      > of the volume, two sets of explanatory notes (to the text and to the
      > translation), a selected bibliography of secondary sources, and an
      > author and subject index.
      > Volume IV of the I Tatti edition contains Books XII-XIV of Ficino's
      > Platonic Theology. It includes some of the most important Renaissance
      > texts on the immortality of the soul and on the concepts of theurgy,
      > phantasy and vacatio. Book XII demonstrates that the soul is immortal
      > because it is formed by the Divine Mind, and deals with the soul's
      > ascent to the divine ideas. Book XIII demonstrates the soul's
      > immortality by four signs : phantasy, reason and prophecy, arts, and
      > miracles. Book XIV demonstrates the soul's immortality from the fact
      > that the soul strives to become God.
      > 1) The text:
      > The text incorporates several significant improvements to Marcel's
      > edition, avoiding numerous misprints and unnecessary conjectural
      > emendations. At the end of the volume the "notes to the translation"
      > include the variant readings of the different witnesses and indicate
      > departures from Marcel's edition.
      > As previously shown by Marcel (Marsile Ficin. The/ologie Platonicienne.
      > Tome I. Livres I-VIII, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1964, pp. 17-30), the
      > text of Platonic Theology is preserved in two manuscripts, the London
      > manuscript Harleianus 3482 (the personal copy written for King Fernando
      > the First), and the Florence manuscript Pluteus 83.10 (the dedication
      > copy written for Lorenzo de' Medici). Harleianus 3482 derives from the
      > second edition printed in Venice in 1491 and can therefore be
      > eliminated from the apparatus. Laurentianus Pluteus 83.10, however,
      > contains a text that is independent of the editio princeps (Florence
      > 1482). There are therefore two primary witnesses, which probably derive
      > independently from the same archetype: the editio princeps, printed in
      > Florence in 1482, which Ficino saw through the press and probably
      > corrected himself (= A), and the Florence manuscript Pluteus 83.10 (=
      > L). The text is also preserved in five early modern editions, including
      > the famous Basle edition of 1576 of Ficino's complete works. Excerpts
      > of the text are to be found in other works by Ficino: the Disputatio
      > contra iudicium astrologicum (preserved in the codex unicus
      > Magliabechiano XX, 58), as well as his Letters, his Compendium
      > Platonicae Theologiae, and his De Christianae Religione.
      > As stated in the first volume of the edition (p. 315), the I Tatti
      > editors have drawn from Marcel's edition, which is based upon the
      > collation of the two manuscripts (H and L), the first two editions
      > printed during Ficino's lifetime (A and B), and the five other early
      > modern editions. However, they have completely re-collated the text's
      > two primary witnesses and, as a result, they have been able to emend
      > Marcel's collation, which was not always accurate. They also tend to
      > adopt, when possible, the text as it is preserved in the
      > manuscripts/editions and sensibly delete Marcel's sometimes unnecessary
      > corrections and conjectural additions. For example, in XIII, 4, section
      > 16, the editors have avoided Marcel's conjecture illa, preferring AL's
      > reading ille (si quando anima hominis ita fingat aciem suam in deum
      > divinoque lumine impleatur rapiaturque ut ILLE tunc aeque coruscat,
      > ...). In one place (XIV, 10, § 11), however, the editors follow
      > Marcel's excellent conjecture delebit instead of A's debebit and L's
      > habebit (itaque si deum colere cogit certa quaedam positio siderum,
      > brevi positio contraria e memoria hominum divinos DELEBIT honores).
      > Hankins' re-collation of the two primary witnesses (A and L) also
      > indicates that Marcel's text followed sometimes too readily that of the
      > Basle edition (which had itself been unnecessarily corrected by its
      > editor) in places where A and L offer a better reading (e.g. converso :
      > e converso Marcel, Op; suppliciter : simpliciter Marcel, Op; appetant :
      > appetent Marcel, Op; quid mirum : quid mirum est Marcel, Op; appetit :
      > petit Marcel, Op.).
      > 2) The translation:
      > The I Tatti Renaissance Library also provides for the first time an
      > English translation of Ficino's Platonic Theology, facing the Latin
      > text. It is divided into chapters and paragraphs and annotated. Michael
      > J. B. Allen, who has already edited, translated and commented upon
      > several works of Ficino (including Ficino's commentaries on Plato's
      > Sophist, Philebus, Phaedrus), provides here an altogether elegant and
      > readable translation.
      > The "notes to the translation" include Ficino's sources for quotations
      > and allusions. Although they follow closely Marcel's references,
      > Allen's notes are more complete and accurate (e.g. the reference in
      > XII, 1 is to Psalm 4, 6 and 36, 9 and not, as indicated by Marcel,
      > Psalm 4, 7 and 25, 10). One will also find useful explanations to the
      > text and alternative translations of difficult passages, as well as
      > some basic information concerning the sources used by Ficino and the
      > broader context in which these sources are used.
      > A very short bibliography at the end of the volume lists secondary
      > sources on Ficino and Renaissance humanism, including two
      > bibliographies (Kristeller's Marsilio Ficino and His Work after Five
      > Hundred Years and the bibliography updated annually in the journal
      > Accademia). To the works mentioned, however, the editors ought to have
      > added major contributions by scholars in other languages than English,
      > and in particular the seminal works of Eugenio Garin and Cesare Vasoli.
      > The I Tatti project represents a major contribution to Renaissance
      > studies, as it becomes increasingly necessary to produce reliable
      > editions and translations of works of the Italian Renaissance written
      > in Latin. By providing an accurate text and a readable translation in
      > an elegant yet affordable format, this volume will benefit both
      > scholars and students, who might not be familiar with Ficino's
      > sometimes difficult and elliptical Latin. It will interest not only
      > those who are working on Ficino and Italian humanism but also anyone
      > who is concerned with the history of Platonism and Neoplatonism. No
      > doubt this edition will stimulate further studies on Ficino's Platonic
      > Theology, which will in turn enlighten significant aspects of Ficino's
      > thought, identify new sources and provide a comprehensive exegesis of
      > this fundamental text.
      > -------------------------------
      > The BMCR website (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/) contains a complete
      > and searchable archive of BMCR reviews since our first issue in 1990.
      > It also contains information about subscribing and unsubscribing from
      > the service.
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